reopening the bay area

San Jose Leaders Move Ahead With Outdoor Restaurant Dining Plan

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Dining out may mean dining outside in San Jose now that city leaders approved a proposal Tuesday to allow more outdoor seating areas to expand into street parking.

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday voted to move forward with the so-called al fresco plan, but for now, restaurants are still limited to pick-up orders in accordance with Santa Clara County public health orders.

The plan applies to downtown San Jose and anywhere else the city is able to identify areas that would be safe for al-fresco dining. The goal is to help ease the pain for restaurants, which may lose up to half of their interior seating because of mandatory social distancing requirements.

The Santa Clara County Public Health department has to sign off on the move, but the proposal already has support from the city’s business organizations and restaurant owners like Jorge Sanchez.

"That’s what we need from our city government," said Sanchez, owner of Chacho’s restaurant. "We need them to help get the ball rolling."

San Jose council members voted Tuesday to work with a Bay Area nonprofit to identify available public spaces where the al fresco plan would work safely.

San Mateo also is considering more outdoor seating, perhaps closing two streets to allow restaurants to serve customers outside. And Berkeley leaders are set to vote on al fresco dining on June 2.

The cities would need the federal government to allow restaurants and bars to serve alcohol outside.

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